Today at the start of class, students take a minute to write down their thoughts about the climax of a story. Here is an Entrance Ticket: Climax.
They should complete this silently to get them thinking about the approaching climax in our read aloud, So B. It.
Whenever possible, I begin my lessons with silent, independent reading. During this time, I actively monitor their reading progress by checking their out-of-class reading logs and engaging in reading conferences that cover a variety of topics.
To find ways to enact this section, please see my strategy folder.
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How do you know when you're approaching the climax in a novel?
Question two (above) on the Entrance Ticket: Climax is an effective way to lead off discussion on climax. We have a whole group discussion based on this question. Before we can dig in, I make sure kids have a solid understanding of the concept. Our working definition of climax is: when the main conflict is at its worst. Many students mention that you can tell it is approaching when tension builds. It is often that point in the book when you simply cannot put it down. Everything seems to be coming to a head.
One way kids also know that climax is approaching is when they start seeing questions in the text. Questions naturally build suspense, as they keep the reader wondering. These questions are usually asked by characters who are searching for the same information that we are.
So B. It is perfect for this, since it is a mystery. Mysteries are great for modeling parts of plot.
I spend a large chunk of time today reading from our read aloud, So B. It.
Kids are hooked on the novel at this point, events are starting to get very exciting. Also, I am behind in my reading schedule and am hoping to get to the climax by tomorrow.
Today, during reading, I spend time noticing signs that the climax may be approaching. Here is one section of the reading that points at signs we're approaching the climax.
I highlight the section shown on pg. 160 of the novel:
"'Hello?' I called again, hoping maybe the woman inside would hear me, but the door was heavy, and too much was going on behind it for anyone to hear me calling" (160).
We talk about Heidi's question in this passage... she is looking for answers about her identity and has finally made it to the place where she hopes to find these answers. Her question "hello" keeps the reader on their toes'. Who will she find? What answers are there to be found? I read on until the close of the chapter, which marks the true beginning of the climax.